|Photo by St. Murse|
Most people will agree to the truism that a person should not be too underweight or too overweight.
People should be just the right weight.
This post is part of a series on 18 biomarkers.
Note: The function of this post is only to raise awareness. It is not offering medical advice. If you have concerns about your BMI, please see a licensed medical professional.
The BMI categories as published by the CDC are as follows:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 - 24.9
Overweight = 25 - 29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
But the borders between these four categories are hotly debated as is the more general idea of "ideal weight."
Public discourse on body image, body shaming, lookism, and other related topics make this an intense topic.
This post discusses a JAMA report that suggests muscle mass as a better biomarker than the focus on body fat central to the BMI test.
Health Nucleas makes the argument that body composition (bone density, muscle mass, fat, etc.) should be measured, which is a little more complicated to accomplish. However, it's more informative.
I am not seeking to judge anyone or dictate a course of action.
For this reasons of controversy and complexity of methods of measurement, I have procrastinating writing about this particular biomarker as part of this series on 18 biomarkers of health and longevity.
According to this BMI Calculator, hosted by NIH, my own BMI has varied over the years of physical (and legal) adulthood from a BMI of 18.6 (point one away from Underweight) to a BMI of 25.4 (point six away from Overweight).
Why is BMI a Biomarker of Longevity and Health?
WebMD correlates obesity (BMI of 30+) with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, gallbladder disease & gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, and breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma.
The Centers for Disease Control includes all the above disease and conditions as part of the risks of obesity and also adds low quality of life, mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc.) as well as pain that makes body functioning difficult.
I have used a tape measure and a scale primarily; however, I have had skin calipers tests (aka skinfold measurements or pinch test) used by my GP, by a university research team, and by a fitness trainer at the YMCA.
I have also had a DEXA scan (for bone density and ratios of muscle, fat, and bones) at Wichita State University as part of a battery of tests done for research participants 50 plus.
|Photo by Mecklenburg County|
I tend to use a bathroom scale, a tape measure, and the very informal and problematic method of "how my clothes fit." As an adult, I have gone down to a size 2 and up to a size 12. That's a pretty big range. The ideal is probably somewhere in the middle of those dress sizes. My height is just a little below 60 inches, unless I've done a lot of yoga recently to lengthen my spine.
(Caveat: I have often wondered, are clothing manufacturers making these sizes bigger to assuage the egos of Americans with expanding waistlines. That's another topic for another day.)
However you measure, assess, and respond to the BMI biomarker, I wish you all the best in the pursuit of a long health span.
Biomarkers (18) for Longevity and Health
Weight-Hip Ratio: Biomarker of Health
Daily or Weekly Weigh Ins?
Goodbye Size 4